Depress means to lessen the activity or power of something. If you want to depress the spread of poverty, you need to find ways to slow it down, like by bringing education and skill-building resources into the poorest communities.

The word depress comes from the Old French word depresser, meaning “put down by force.” Depress can be used literally to describe something you push down, like when you depress the handle on a toaster to lower the bread. It can also describe a more figurative lowering, such as the lowering of a person’s emotional state. Attending a funeral is likely to depress you, and watching a sad movie afterwards will just sink your spirits even more.

Definitions of depress
  1. verb

    press down

    Depress the space key”
    press down
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    type of:

    displace, move

    cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense

  2. verb

    cause to drop or sink

    “The lack of rain had
    depressed the water level in the reservoir”
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    type of:

    alter, change, modify

    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation

  3. verb

    lessen the activity or force of

    “The rising inflation
    depressed the economy”
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    type of:


    lessen the strength of

  4. verb

    lower (prices or markets)

    “The glut of oil
    depressed gas prices”
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    type of:

    bring down, get down, let down, lower, take down

    move something or somebody to a lower position

  5. verb

    lower someone’s spirits; make downhearted

    “These news
    depressed her”
    cast down, deject, demoralise, demoralize, dismay, dispirit, get down
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    elate, intoxicate, lift up, pick up, uplift

    fill with high spirits; fill with optimism


    depress or discourage
    type of:


    deprive of courage or hope; take away hope from; cause to feel discouraged

Word Family